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German Car CEOs Straddle Thin Line in White House Trade Meeting

  • VW, BMW, Daimler have most to lose if U.S. enacts new tariffs
  • Executives said seeking to avoid interfering in EU-U.S. talks
Herbert Diess, Dieter Zetsche and Harald Krueger
Herbert Diess, Dieter Zetsche and Harald KruegerPhotographer: Rolf Shulten/Marlene Awad/Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Top executives of Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG have a balancing act to pull off when they meet with Trump administration officials Tuesday about potential tariffs on U.S. imports from Germany.

The carmakers don’t want the U.S. to enact proposed levies of as much as 25 percent on billions of dollars worth of cars they ship in from Germany every year. But they will be careful not to become entangled in negotiations that rest squarely in the hands of European Union trade officials, according to people familiar with the matter.